The Words of the Gehring Family
Viewing sports as a potential instrument for peace, the Universal Peace Federation designed a one-day Sports for Peace program that integrates sports and education in order to promote peaceful communities. This can be used in conjunction with the UN International Day of Peace, September 21.
The sports component involves teams playing a popular sport such as football (soccer), basketball, or races. An optional additional component is playing or demonstrating a traditional game. Coaches and officials should encourage good sportsmanship during competitions.
The educational component is aligned with the UN's effort to promote peace and development through sports while increasing the awareness of the benefits sports can contribute to personal development, community harmony, and a healthy life-style. Sample interactive exercises, guidance for a group discussion, and a PowerPoint presentation have been created for the educational component. See the collection of resources for organizers.
The following guidelines are offered to organizers of the day's activities.
A locally organized competition in a popular international sport such as football, basketball, or track. We recommend a football competition because it is popular and doesn't involve expenses. If possible, include a traditional sport, with community elders playing a demonstration game or coaching teams.
Q. What age participants should we invite?
A. The availability of playing fields may limit the number of teams. We recommend inviting participants with experience playing the sport, so the event will focus on playing rather than teaching. Older youth can serve as coaches, officials, and staff. This will give them opportunities to serve as good role models and be recognized for making a contribution to their community.
Q. Should we have separate teams for boys and girls?
A. This depends on cultural sensitivities. You should offer opportunities for both girls and boys to play. Mixed teams may be suitable for younger children, but for participants older than 13, we advise separate teams.
Q. Should we give prizes?
A. Prizes are exciting, and if you can give them it is a plus. Prizes can be something creative; for example, a local sponsor may offer a free movie ticket. Consider presenting all competitors with a certificate of participation. To reinforce the educational component, give awards for good sportsmanship and positive attitude.
Q. What if many participants want to play?
A. There are several factors to consider: How many people you want to involve and how many games would be required to get them involved? Will each team play once or will you have playoffs to determine the overall winner? How much time is available? How many fields can be used? How tired will younger players become? Do you have the necessary officials and staff? Once you have a clear idea about how many people will be participating, you can set up a schedule.
Q. Do teams need to be regulation size games regulation length?
A. Shorter than regulation competitions make it possible to involve more players and have play-offs. In football, 7-person teams involve more action than 11-person teams. A basketball game can played to 11 or 15 points and can involve 3 players per team rather than the regulation 5 players.
Q. How about rules?
A. Make sure that the rules are clear and that each competition has referees or officials that focus on good sportsmanship. These may be adults or experienced older youth; it's best not to have parents as officials in games their children participate in.
Q. What safety arrangements are needed?
A. Have first-aid supplies on hand and someone trained to administer it. Make sure that enough water (and/or sports drinks) is available for the players. In addition, you may want to sell drinks to those attending the event. If you can get water or drinks donated, that is a plus; you will need to decide if their will be a charge.
Q. Why include a traditional sport?
A. Traditional games are anchors of community stability, a critical element in peaceful societies. Having community elders demonstrate traditional games or coach the younger generations in playing them is an opportunity for multi-generational cooperation, a vital contributor to community harmony.
The education program supports the UN's efforts to promote sports as instruments for peace and development. It shows how sports can promote good habits, build character, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. A PowerPoint presentation gives the contents for a seminar. At the end, a group discussion can give each participant an opportunity to contribute. You may also use interactive learning exercises.
Q. What audience is the PowerPoint presentation for?
A. We developed a presentation that is for athletes, coaches, parents, teachers and community leaders. Students should be of high school age or older. Please feel free to adjust the content to your audience.
Q. What if I don't have a projector?
A. You can make flip charts. You will be asking participants to respond and it is important to be able to write down their responses so that all can see. You can print the material and distribute some or all of it to the participants.
Q. What are some team-building exercises for children and youth?
A. For suggestions, click here.
Seek partners and create a working group that can meet regularly and share responsibilities to carry out the various tasks.
Select the sport, clarify the qualifications to play, and plan how to recruit players.
Select an appropriate sports venue that can handle the number of teams involved; arrange locations for the community gathering and education session.
Obtain the necessary sports equipment, chairs, microphone, and sound equipment. Make a banner for the event.
Clarify rules and guidelines, including a code of good sportsmanship for participants to sign.
Recruit team leaders, referees, and other officials. Hold an orientation explaining the schedule, rules, and guidelines.
Ask local businesses for support; for example, sports stores, water company, food suppliers, etc. Decide whether vendors will set up concession stands to sell food and drinks or whether they will be given at no cost.
Arrange for first-aid supplies and people trained to give first aid.
Announce the event on the radio, in newspapers, on the Internet, etc., inviting the community to the opening gathering and the award ceremony.
Arrange a system for participants to register. Participants should sign the code of good sportsmanship and parents should sign a medical release.
Organize teams and assign staff to the teams. Distribute contact information about team members, officials, and staff. Determine what team members will wear to identify them (examples: arm bands or T-shirts).
Find appropriate teachers or players who can demonstrate a traditional sport or game. Decide with them whether the sport or game will be demonstrated or whether a competition will take place. Make sure that they have what they need.
Review the material for the educational seminar and practice presenting it.
Arrange for a photographer to cover all aspects of the day and select the best photos for a report.
Recruit parents and other volunteers to set up for the event, including sign-in tables, water, and food.
Create an event program with the schedule and a list of sponsors. Print certificates of participation and certificates of recognition for good sportsmanship and cooperation. Arrange for a way of honoring the winning team.
8:00 am -- Organizing staff meet
8:30 am -- Registration for participants
9:00 am -- Community gathering, beginning with the national anthem, if appropriate. Brief explanations about the competition, and the seminar. Introduce the team members and officials as well as the representatives of the traditional sports. If the event is taking place on a commemorative day such as the UN International Day of Peace, explain about the special day.
9:30 am -- Morning competitions
11:00 am -- Seminar about Sports for Peace
12:00 noon -- Meal break
12:30 pm -- Demonstration of a traditional sport or game
1:30 pm -- Afternoon competitions
3:00 pm -- Awards ceremony and expressions of appreciation for participants, staff, partners, and donors
Adjust the schedule according to your situation. The awards ceremony can be very simple. If all team members are receiving a certificate of participation, team leaders may pass them out rather then calling every person up to receive the certificate.
For more information, contact John Gehring.